An upcoming artist saw a short post of this topic on my IG page and left this comment,”showbiz lawyer, which one is this again”? and I replied him with a smile saying”as an artist you have to either learn the business aspect of music or let competent hands handle that”. With that i would love to elaborate on the subject matter for today.
ISRC stands for INTERNATIONAL STANDARD RECORDING CODES which simply aims at uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. The code was developed by the recording industry which codified the standard as ISO 3901 in 1986, and updated it in 2001.
An ISRC identifies a particular recording, not the work (composition and lyrical content) itself. Therefore different recordings, edits, and remixes of the same work should each have their own ISRC. Now each of these codes is a unique 12 digits of which can be bought from an ISRC manager or service provider. I have already seen an advert of Spinlet Nigeria on instagram selling the codes.
Next question is, how does one get the code into his record? This has to be done by the sound engineer once the record is ready for distribution or release.
The next question in your mind is, does every record need this code? Well, not all recordings as demos don’t need it but for records one plans on distributing to the public and for release, then it is advisable to get the codes. Initially in U.S, it was distributed for free till 2009 when RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) started charging for it as the system or database needed to be maintained.
What does one stand to benefit from purchasing these codes? Firstly, these codes are compatible with standards developed in the field of consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry. Secondly it can be used to track sales of your records and radio plays for accurate data in royalties payments especially in a country like ours where artists registered with COSON (Copyright Society of Nigeria) have been accusing the latter of not paying their due royalties. It might interest you to know that Trace Naija pays 20% royalty to COSON for videos played on their platform as established in the Afrima Music Summit of which I attended on the 10th of Nov, 2017 at Eko hotels in Lagos. Also Nigerian radio stations pay royalties monthly for songs played on their stations these days so you might want to reconsider waving that aspect off if you have been doing such for years. Thirdly, records are often illegally used for commercials in Nigeria as artists never sue for lack of license to use their intellectual property. With the arrival of these codes, records used without license can be tracked. Fourthly it proves legally that you own the record as we haven’t embraced copyrighting a record yet. What about aiding in gathering demographics for research purposes? Well that would be a 5th benefit.
An advice to every artist, kindly and always remember that in as much as you wanna put out so many records and hits, you shouldn’t be living a fake & broke life hence take the music business seriously.
Till next week when you shall be reading my thoughts, research and little understanding, keep a date with me the showbiz lawyer.
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